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COLUMBIA, South Carolina (LifeSiteNews) — Republican Gov. Henry McMaster announced this week that South Carolina will not impose COVID-19 mandates or close schools this year, criticizing a lack of “common sense” that motivated “foolish” pandemic restrictions across the country. 

Amid concerns that nationwide mandates will return this fall and with certain schools and districts adopting some independently, the governor gave a public statement to confirm and “assure” his state’s residents that South Carolina will not follow suit. 

“Lockdowns were a mistake,” McMaster said in a video of the briefing posted to X. “A lot of the information that was presented and the opinions that were presented from official sources were in error and caused damage. And I can assure the people of South Carolina that we are not going to have mandates or require masks.” 

“We’re not going to close down schools. We’re not going to do a lot of the foolish things that were done in other states that we limited to a great degree here in South Carolina.” 

McMaster went on to say that the pandemic taught the public “how important common sense is,” pointing out that it “was abandoned in many parts of the country, but not here.” 

“We did the right things, but we will not have mask mandates,” McMaster concluded. “We’re not going to close schools. We’ve got to do everything that we can to see that our young people get the best education available.” 

McMaster’s statement comes after several schools of various levels of education have temporarily reimposed some or all COVID mandates, citing positive cases of the virus. 

During the first weeks of the 2023-2024 academic year, school districts in Texas and Kentucky canceled several days of classes due to positive COVID cases among students and staff. While some institutions of higher education have relaxed previous requirements to take experimental vaccines or allowed for exemptions, Rutgers University has threatened to disenroll students who refuse the injections. 

Morris Brown College, a private liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia, brought back full COVID mandates — including masking, social distancing, and daily symptom checks — for at least the first two weeks of classes, citing an unspecified number of infections. 

Similarly, after “3 or more individuals” contracted the virus, an elementary school in Maryland has forced students and staff in the affected classes and activities to wear N95 masks “for the next 10 days, except while eating or drinking,” according to a letter from the principal. Following the 10-day period, masking will “become optional again.” 

Sporadic closures and restrictions have occurred amid speculation that the federal government will reimpose previously issued mandates. The Biden administration is also pushing Americans to take the updated booster shot, which is set to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and be available by September 13. 

Like McMaster, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has also declared that he will never revive mask mandates in Texas, in the latest of his initiatives to prevent COVID mandates from returning to the state. 


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